My First Tri!

I just took part in my first formal triathlon! Granted, it was only a super sprint event, but we all have to start somewhere. The distances for this event were 750 metres swimming, 12 miles cycling and 3 mile running. These aren’t far off the kind of distances that I normally practice in-house at the gym, so it was good to finally be able to put it altogether in a semi-competitive setting. Although it is called a super sprint event, most people seem to be using this event as a way into triathlon, rather than an opportunity to show off just how speedy they actually are.

The event was organised by a local triathlon club and there were alternative longer races for people who wanted to test their skills on other distances. The main event was the “Olympic” distance triathlon, which required participants to swim for 2.5 miles, cycle for 25 miles and then run for 6.5 miles. I’m hoping to be able to compete in this version of the race in the next few years, not!

I met a person at the race who actually uses the same gym as I do. We have seen each other in the training room, but haven’t actually really spoken to each other before. They had taken an interest in the triathlon after seeing the British success in the last couple of Olympic Games, and we’re both mightily looking forward to next years games in Rio. Although they had only started training last year, they were already competing in the middle distance races and were nearly ready to move onto Olympic distance events. They are a few years younger than myself though which is an advantage of course! We have agreed to meet up with one another next time we are at the gym, so that we can share our training routine. I have always thought that it was easier to achieve things at the gym when you had a training buddy to work with.

Martine Griffin

Daddy’s girl!

For this event, we started swimming in the pool. The club competes in a lot of outdoor events throughout the rest of the year, but the water is still far too cold at this time of year, even in a wetsuit. I am down to compete in an outdoor super sprint later this year, but I have been advised that I need to try outdoor swimming in a wetsuit before event day. Outdoor swimming is very different to swimming in a pool, because there are different currents and more waves.

The cycling part of the course involved one fairly tough section of incline, which involved powering up a hill in the final section of the course. This was tough going on the legs and I felt very wobbly when I first got off the bike. This slowed my transition down a tiny bit, but other than that I was away fine.

Running has always been the easiest bit for me. I ran before I came to triathlon, so I have always thought of this area as my chance to shine. I caught up with a few people during the final half mile, and ended my race somewhere in the middle of the pack. A great result!

paying lawyer fees

Paying for a Personal Injury Claim

If you decide to make a claim for compensation after suffering a personal injury that was not your fault, it is important that you understand the potential legal costs. Raising a claim in the United Kingdom can be expensive, but you may be able to get some financial support. Financial support is supposed to make it easier for everybody to be able to access the justice that they deserve, however it is not available or suitable for everyone. Here are some of the options which might be suitable for you.

Insurance Policy

If you have insurance for your house, car or travel, you might find that there is a clause in there that helps you to cover your legal expenses. However, the policy will probably only cover legal expenses if they relate to the type of insurance that you have. For example, legal cover in a car insurance policy probably won’t help you if you tripped up in the workplace. However, it could help you to pursue some additional compensation if you were forced to use expensive taxis after a car accident. Adding legal cover to an insurance policy normally only increases the premium by a small amount annually, so it is worth considering adding it to your policy next time that you renew. Solicitors’ fees can be really high, so taking out this extra cover can help you to make big savings if you did need to pursue legal action for any reason.

Legal Aid

Some people who are in receipt of benefits or have a lower financial income may be eligible to access legal aid to pursue certain civil cases. Recent changes to Legal Aid criteria means that this type of support is no longer available for personal injury claims in England or Wales. Personal injuries are still covered by Legal Aid in Scotland. Although personal injury cases do not normally qualify for Legal Aid support, there is some potential for overlap from other cases. For example, Legal Aid can be used to request an inquest into the death of a loved one. If your goal is to highlight negligence or failings, then you may be able to find support from a Legal Aid professional.

No Win, No Fee (Conditional Fee Agreements)

A Conditional Fee agreement is an agreement which states that you will not have to pay the solicitor for their time if they do not win the case for you.  If they do help you to win the case, then you will owe them a pre-arranged percentage of your claim. The cap on the amount that can be claimed by the lawyer as a success fee is 25%. This could be hundreds of thousands of pounds if the claim value is very high. On the other hand, it could be a few hundred pounds if the claim value is low. Make sure that you understand how much the lawyer or claims assessor will be entitled to if the case is successful.

Even if you are using a no win, no fee lawyer, you may still be required to pay other legal costs towards launching the case. This includes things like search fees, expert witness fees and any other expenses that may be incurred as part of a legal battle. In the event of a victory, these fees should be paid by the other side.

The positive thing about conditional fee agreements is that they allow people to have access to legal advice without having to worry about finding any spare funds in the first instance. This is very positive because it allows people to seek immediate advice at a time when they may be in a financially vulnerable position. However, those who make use of No Win, No Fee agreements must be sure that they understand that this is not a risk-free option. If the claimant goes to court and ends up losing the court case, the claimant may still have to make a payment towards the legal fees and expenses of the defendant. A responsible solicitor or claims advisor will talk to their clients about these possibilities. Insurance is available to help claimants to cover these fees if they do lose their case.

More on No Win, No Fee here.

how does it work

How does “No Win, No Fee” work in a personal injury case?

If you are considering making a claim for compensation after a personal injury, you will certainly have seen most solicitors and claims advisors offering their services on a “No Win, No Fee” basis. “No Win, No Fee” services are also known as Conditional Fee Agreements. Although these offers look very tempting, it is important that you understand how they work before you decide to take advantage of them.

Why use a “No Win, No Fee” service?

No Win, No Fee services are designed to encourage people to consider litigation following on from an accident. Previously, people were excluded from litigation if they weren’t confident that they would be able to afford the necessary legal fees. This meant that some people vulnerable people were not able to get access to justice after an accident that left them with a reduced quality of life. However, No Win, No Fee services allow people to access legal advice, even if they are not able to make direct payments upfront.

Most No Win, No Fee solicitors and claims advisors will offer free consultation sessions to people in the first instance, so that potential clients are able to find out whether or not they could have a valid case. The success fees which lawyers earn when they win actually make up a huge part of their individual earnings, so lawyers who work on a No Win, No Fee have an extra incentive to work hard to make sure that their claims are always successful.

Is it really No Win, No Fee?

In a “No Win, No Fee” agreement, “no fee” refers to the legal fees which must be paid to the lawyer or the claims advisor that the agreement is with. If your case is not successful, you will not have to pay any legal fees to that person. However, that does not mean that there will be no costs involved with taking the case forwards. You may need to pay for other costs that relate to your claim, including fees to access information and the fees required to hire expert witnesses. Your lawyer may need you to pay some of these fees upfront. If you are successful in your claim, then these fees should be covered by the opposing party as part of the compensation value. However, if you lose the case, you will have to cover all of these fees yourself. You may also need to pay any legal fees that were incurred by the defendant in the case.

In some cases, it is possible to take out insurance to help to protect you if you are required to cover the opposing party’s legal fees. If you decide that you wish to proceed with a “No Win, No Fee” case, you are strongly advised to talk to your solicitor or claims advisor to see if they can recommend any insurance against these fees.

What will the solicitor or claims advisor get if we win?

Your solicitor or claims advisor will take a percentage of your compensation as a success fee. They may also reclaim some additional fees from the defendant. Regulation in the United Kingdom caps the success fee at a maximum of 25%. The percentage which the lawyer or solicitor intends to reclaim as their success fee should be clearly set out in the initial Conditional Fee Agreement. It is worth remembering that the fee may only amount to a few hundred pounds in a claim with a small value, however high value claims can secure lawyers hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Which lawyers offer No Win, No Fee arrangements?

Any lawyer or claims advisor can offer this type of arrangement; however they are most common amongst larger law firms or claims firms. This is because these firms can afford to handle the costs of a few losses per year. These big firms will have a lot of experience of dealing with all kinds of personal injury claims, so it is likely that they will know of precedent in similar areas. This level of background knowledge can help claimants to feel more confident about sharing their stories.   If you have been injured in an accident, you may wish to speak to a “No Win, No Fee” professional to begin your case.

lady needs answers

How to Make a Claim for Compensation

Any type of injury can have life-altering consequences. It can be very frustrating if the accident was your fault, but it can be even more upsetting if the accident was caused by somebody else’s negligence. If your accident was caused by someone else then you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation. This compensation could help to lessen the impact of the injury and recuperate any lost costs that you experienced. Here is how you can make a claim for compensation if you decide that you want to.

Find Support

Although it is possible to make a claim for compensation without any additional support, most people choose to use a claims advisor or a solicitor. These professional are more likely to help you to win your case, because they have a great understanding of the law and they know about precedent. They will also have more time to dedicate to your case. There are countless national corporations which specialise in making personal injuries claims, however you can also approach your local solicitor’s office to see if they are able to help you with your claim.

Some claims advisors or solicitors will have a specialism. Wherever possible, it is best to choose a professional who specialises in your area of personal injury.

Discuss Your Case

If you wish to make a claim for compensation, you will have to be prepared to discuss your case. Many solicitors and claims advisors are prepared to offer free initial consultation sessions to allow potential claimants to see whether the law is on their side. You will be asked to explain the details of the accident and the extent of your injuries. Your legal professional or claims advisor may also ask you whether you have had any lasting effects after your accident.

By taking into account all of the information that they have given you, they should be able to advise you about whether there is any chance of making a successful claim. It is in their interests to manage your expectations properly, because they will not want to waste their time on an unsuccessful claim, especially if they are working on a “No Win, No Fee” basis. (I’ve now added a post on “No Win, No Fee”). They will also be able to tell you how much your claim could be worth. It is then up to you as to whether you decide to progress your claim or not.

Gather Evidence

In order to build a strong case, your solicitor or claims advisor will want to gather as much information as possible. They may need to gain access to your medical records to gain a proper understanding of how the accident has affected you. They may also need to see financial statements to see how the incident has affected you financially. They will search for evidence of lost earning, as well as considering how your earning potential could be reduced in the future. All of these things will also have an effect on how much compensation you may be entitled to.

In regards to the incident which caused all of your personal injuries, your representatives may also wish to find witnesses to the event. These witnesses can help to corroborate your story, so that it is clear that the accident was not your fault. They may also seek to find expert witnesses, who could be called upon to explain why an incident might have occurred or whether anything could have been done differently to prevent the accident from happening. In some cases, it may have been impossible to stop the accident from happening, but it may have been possible to take steps to reduce the impact of an accident.

Making the Claim

When your advisor or solicitor launches the claim, the defendant will have the opportunity to respond. In some cases, they will agree completely with the claim and they will be prepared to offer the full amount straight away. However, they may choose to make a lower counteroffer. If the offer is still reasonable, your lawyer or claims advisor may suggest that you take it. If all negotiations fail, then the claim may end up going to court. If you lose the case, you may be required to pay the legal fees of the defendant.


Support for Personal Injury Victims

Part of my blog will be about personal injury law, and advice for those that might need it. Being a retired lawyer I know only too well how personal injuries can sometimes have a huge effect on a person’s life and their ability to maintain the quality of life that they were used to before the accident happened. Whilst some people are able to cope after a personal injury, other people may be faced by extreme hardship. It is often the most vulnerable people who are hit hardest by a personal injury.

Should you need support and/or advice on personal injury please read the remainder of this post.

Turn to your support network

In the first instance, injured people may try to turn to their personal support network to see how they can be of assistance. That being said, if a person is injured in an accident that was not their fault, they should not be forced to rely solely on their friends and family members. Friends and family members can provide useful support in the immediate aftermath of an incident as they try to help to organise further support from outside of the personal network. People who are injured in an accident that they are not liable for should be entitled to access all of the support that they need to aid their recovery.

Citizens Advice Bureau

Anyone who is struggling to access support or anyone who is having financial difficulties as a result of a personal injury that they sustained is recommended to visit their local Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

The team at the Citizen’s Advice Bureau are trained to understand a wide range of laws, rules and available support to help citizens to overcome their problems. Support is also available for people who are suffering from hardship because a personal injury has affected someone in their immediate family. If a person is suffering from severe financial worries, including problems with debt or issues with claiming the appropriate financial benefits that they are entitled to after an accident, the team at the Citizens Advice Bureau may suggest a specialist money advisor.

Help and Support Groups

There is a wide range of different help and support groups available in the United Kingdom for people who have suffered a personal injury that was not their fault. Many of these support groups will specialise in one particular field or other. Specialist fields include; groups for victims of violent crimes, groups for those who have suffered an injury due to medical malpractice, groups for people who were injured in the workplace, and groups for people injured in road traffic accidents. These groups normally offer direct and indirect support to accident victims. They also work to improve legislation so that other people are less likely to encounter the same problems again in the future.

Making a Claim for Compensation

Making a claim for compensation can help vulnerable people to ensure that they are able to support themselves. The compensation should also help to cover any financial losses which that person has experienced because of the personal injury that they received. Although it is possible for a person to make a claim on their own, it is much easier to do so with the support of a claims assessor or legal professional.

A claims assessor will listen to the full story about what caused the personal injury and they will then try to ascertain who is liable for the injuries. They may need to ask personal questions and obtain personal medical information to help them to do this. They will also use this information to help them to establish how much the claim may be worth. Once they have ascertained fault and established a potential claims value, they can then launch the claim by advising the defendant’s insurance company of their intentions.

In many cases, the defendant’s insurance company will agree completely with the claim for compensation. They will offer the requested amount of compensation or make a close counteroffer. A claims advisor will be able to offer strong advice about whether to accept the counteroffer or whether to continue to fight for a higher claim. In some cases, the claim may end up going to court. Although most people try to avoid a court battle for compensation, so people are pleased to have the opportunity to explain their claim in front of a judge. Cases which go to court can even help to change legislation. However, claimants can lose court cases and may end up with no compensation.

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